I'm a self-taught computer guy. It seems that it was much easier back in the 90's, prior to the dot-com collpase of '01, to get hired--even if the best you could do was to spell "c++"! I think the bar has been raised since then, making the computer degree far more valuable in some ways.
I'd say there's a lot of good advice here. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned Top Coder yet, but that is another thing you might consider participating in. Get some credentials, even if they aren't of the college variety. Have a portfolio and something you can show that is rather impressive.